October 1, 2015

Nichicon Corporation has developed a silicon carbide (SiC) power conversion module though an industry-academia-government collaboration. Using the next-generation SiC power semiconductors, this new module has a high efficiency out put at 1MHz and 1kW.
This power conversion module achieves its high efficiency despite the compact size, this is due to the utilization of low-loss, high-speed switching characteristics of silicon carbide (SiC) power devices, which have yielded huge technical advances in recent years.
Nichicon plans to use this SiC power conversion module in many of our products including; the EV Power Station, the V2H system (the Home Power Station or household energy storage system), EV quick chargers, and power sources alternative.
The product will be on display at CEATEC JAPAN 2015 from October 7 to 10 (Wed.-Sat.) at the Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan

Background of Development

Silicon has been the primary material for power semiconductors which are used in power converters. But power conversion products used in household appliances and businesses equipment have increased requirements I for more energy efficiency as well as being more compact. This need could be met by SiC power semiconductor elements, which have been yielding huge technical advances in recent years.
Although SiC power semiconductors boast low loss high-speed switching that makes smaller devices possible with greater efficiency, there are some technical hurdles.
The Super Cluster Program of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) is aiming for innovations with real impact, and to this end JST is collaborating with industry and academia in research projects. Nichicon is taking part in the Super Cluster program, under which it is enlisting the help of university and private sector partners in the development of high-speed switching technologies and mounting technologies that will contribute to overcoming the remaining technological hurdles to commercialization of SiC power conversion modules.

Main Features

There are still issues that need to be overcome before high-speed switching can be achieved. Although the reactor and other parts used for the circuits can be made smaller and lighter, in order to move from the conventional drive frequencies of several tens of kHz up to a high frequency of 1 MHz, there are problems such as where to place the gate circuits and peripheral components, as well as how to deal with the effect of noise.
As a part of the Super Cluster Program, Nichicon conducted joint research with Kyoto University and ROHM Co., Ltd. to overcome these hurdles. This effort resulted in a peripheral coil just one-tenth the size of previous versions and a compact 1-kW power conversion module.

Main Specifications

  • • Non-insulation-type DC-DC converter
  • • Switching frequency: 1 MHz

  • • Power output: 1 kW

  • • Input voltage: 200 V

  • • Output voltage: 400 V

  • • Efficiency: 94%

  • • Size: 37% smaller (Than previous Nichicon product)

  • • Weight: 30% less (Than previous Nichicon product)

SiC power conversion module (prototype)

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